Good morning Hairtell members!
First, let me introduce myself. I'm a 28 years old MTF transgender person from central Europe and I'm currently undergoing thermolysis treatment to remove facial hair. Unfortunately, this form of permament hair removal is not very popular in my country and therefore my electrologist choice is limited. As a consequence, I have to stick to the electrologist located 2 hours away from my home (I really cannot afford to drive even further and search for another one). I've been reading Hairtell forums for hours before registering but every case is slightly different and I finally decided to join and ask the experienced people here about my progress / concerns. Your help would be greatly appreciated.Let's begin with some general facts:
- My facial hair is very coarse and the color ranges from mid-brown to blonde (there are also some with ginger-ish tint). It is basically a fully developed male-type beard. PHOTO HERE (1)
(this was my starting point)
- I have fair skin color (something between type I and type II on Fitzpatrick scale). My skin is also quite oily.
- I'm on hormone replacement therapy (Estradiol) since June 2017.
- My electrologist uses Apilus Junior and feels most comfortable (I believe) with flash thermolysis.
- So far, I had around 10 hours of thermolysis spread over the period of 3 months. Every 2 or 3 weeks I'm having a 2 hour long session.
- Because the single session time is quite long (2 hours) we decided to thin the hairs in selected regions instead of clearing one particular spot. At the same time, we are trying to alternate between treated areas so that each spot has at least a month of time to heal before we attempt to work on it again.
- Prior to thermolysis, I had 4 laser hair removal sessions in the first months of 2017 with Vectus laser but saw no real improvement in hair texture or density. Obviously the laser did nothing to blonde / ginger hairs but also almost all of the mid-brown ones, that seemed to be good candidates for laser, have regrown after several months since initial treatment. I've also noticed that laser probably stimulated some of the thinner blonde hairs and they became thicker and somehow darker. At that point, I decided to wait 2 months and switched to electrolysis / thermolysis.
- Prior to both treatments described above, I've been plucking / tweezing all the beard hairs for 3 years (yes, tweezing is not a good thing but I didn't know that back then and could not afford laser nor elecrolysis). Plucking them was very painful because they are very thick and deeply-rooted.During the thermolysis session:
- I feel some pain when the zapping takes place but it's not unbearable (upper lip area is the worst though).
- She usually does 2 or 3 zaps for the thicker hairs and 1 zap for the moderate ones.
- I feel slight traction when the hair is being removed but this is different from the plucking sensation (it is not painful). My elecrologist explained that some traction may indeed be experiended as the hair bulb is very large.
- I sometimes hear the sizzling sound (more on that below in the "concerns" section)After a single thermolysis session:
- My face skin is usually quite red, tender and somehow swollen. Redness starts receding after 3-6 hours but the swelling remains for at least 2-3 days after the treatment.
- Some areas (especially the upper lip) feel a bit stiff for 3-4 days after the treatment.
- I didn't notice any scabbing nor fluid oozing.
- During the first week after a session usually some acne-like pustules are appearing.
- I use witch hazel, pure aloe vera and, sometimes, a dab of tea tree oil here and there for 1 week after the treatment. I also apply SPF-50 sunscreen when the weather is sunny.
- This is how my skin looks like 2 hours after a single treatment (thinning) on the upper / lower lip and around the chin area (photos taken with flash on to emphasize all the little details): PHOTO HERE (2)
- And this is how my skin looks like 10 days after the same session (hairs remaining from the session were shaved off to provide better skin visibility on the photo): PHOTO HERE (3)
- This photo was taken 2 hours after another session - this time treatment on the cheeks and under the jaw line: PHOTO HERE (4)
(* marks the old acne scar that was there before)
- The following photos were taken 5 days after the same cheek / jawline session (again, remaining hairs shaved off for better visibility): PHOTO HERE (5) PHOTO HERE (6) PHOTO HERE (7)
- Finally, this is how the skin looks now (these were taken 1 week after last session on the upper / lower lip and chin area):
Photos in daylight: PHOTO HERE (8) PHOTO HERE (9) PHOTO HERE (10)
Photos with flash on: PHOTO HERE (11) Now, what concerns me is that:
- I did notice some residual redness / pigmentation change / bruising in some areas that is fading really slowly . I still have some slight marks from 3 months ago. Yes, I know that hyperpigmentation can take over a year to fade but I don't even know for sure if that's that or something else (see photos above).
- I did notice some minor skin unevenness (?) which is observable on the high-contrast photos (the ones taken in dark environment with flash on). I've watched Michael's great video on healing process and myofibroblasts' role and this seems normal to certain extent. Nevertheless, I thought it is worth mentioning here.
- During the treatments, I sometimes (actually quite often) hear a short sizzling or popping sound. Sometimes it's quiet, other times louder. From what I've read on the forum, it's not a good sign as it may indicate incorrect insertions or too high energy level. I asked the electrologist about it and she told me that it may happen when there is a lot of moisture in and around the follicle and that's nothing to worry about. Could it be that in my case this is normal? As I have mentioned, I have giant hairs, quite oily skin and I also drink a lot of water 2 days before the session.
- There was one spot on the upper lip which seems to be healing rather poorly. 1,5 months after treatment it still looked like a raised bump filled with some matter. I thought it might be an ingrown hair that got trapped under healing skin so I recently asked my electrologist to have a look at it. She pierced it gently with a sterile needle and tried to look for any debris but found nothing. She also said that it is not recommended to dig any deeper now because some scarring may follow. Since then, the bump got somehow smaller but the spot is still visible.
I would be very grateful if any of the experienced electrologists on the board could voice their opinion about mentioned issues. Am I receiving decent thermolysis treatment? How am I healing? Is there anything I should be worried about?
Please let me know,